The ultimate guide to everything you need to know for a proper bench press.
The bench press is a weight training exercise in which the weight is pressed upwards while lying on a bench. The muscles which are primarily used are: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps, among other stabilizing muscles. Usually one would use a barbell to complete the exercise, but a pair of dumbbells can be used as a replacement.
How to prepare for the movement.
It is essential to warm up before this exercise, get the heart rate up to start moving blood through the muscles, and of course- stretch to avoid injury. For some people, it might be difficult to do the movement with an empty barbell (20kg), but not to worry, you can grow the strength of your chest with regular push-ups. Even if from your previous strength training you think that 20kg does not sound like that much- it might be a good idea to gain muscle memory to do the movement safely and not go for personal records.
How to bench press.
Step 1- Lie flat on your back on the bench, and create a slight arch in your lower back so that most of the weight would shift from your butt to your upper back.
Step 2- Grip the barbell symmetrically at shoulder width.
Step 3- Bring the bar to your chest while doing an inhale.
Step 4- Push the bar vertically while exhaling the air from your lungs.
What should you do with your feet?
Leave your feet on the floor below your knees, and push your heels into the ground thus creating tension in your legs and glutes without picking your butt off the bench.
The only part of your back that should not touch the bench is the lower part, whereas the hips, shoulders, and head should remain firmly planted on the bench.
How to properly grip the bar?
We recommend holding the bar a little wider than your shoulder width. If the grip is too narrow- you will not get the full check activation, because the tricep muscles will activate and take most of the weight off the chest. If you grip the bar too wide- you risk shoulder injury. An important thing to remember is that the gym is no place for games, so before taking the barbell off of the rack- squeeze the bar for a couple of seconds to prepare your stabilizing muscles for the movement, in return, this will allow you to lift heavier and help you focus on the movement.
What about the elbows?
The best thing you can do during the movement is to focus on keeping the elbows as close to the body as possible, this will help with chest engagement and take a huge load off of the shoulders.
Do not Ego lift.
You do not need to prove anything to anybody, everybody starts somewhere. Your body will be much more pleased with you if the movement and form are completed correctly and not forgotten to be able to move heavier weights to impress someone.